You know the unmistakable sound of mosquitoes swarming outside your screen door. It’s the high-pitched hum in the distance that lets you know mosquito season is here. If you’ve ever run from your house to your car while batting at hoards of mosquitoes in Florida, then you understand how frustrating they can be. And, with the Zika and Chikungunya viruses and Dengue fever threatening thousands of people’s health, you want to be vigilant about controlling mosquitoes on your property. Read on the learn how you can protect your property from mosquitoes.
Get Ready Before Mosquito Season Starts
You might be asking, “When do mosquitoes come out?” In South Florida, mosquito eggs begin to hatch in early February. Mosquitoes are most active during the spring and summer months when they come out to breed. They typically die off in November, but because temperatures rarely drop below 50 degrees, you might still see a few in the winter months.
Remove Standing Bodies of Water
Mosquitoes lay their eggs in and near standing bodies of water. Get rid of any open water containers like bins and trash cans. Even small buckets of water can attract mosquitoes. Dump them out and put a lid on them or store them upside down so they don’t collect rainwater. Cover swimming pools and removed collected water from the pool covers. Even vases and birdbaths can be breeding grounds, so be sure to keep them dry.
Fill Your Yard With Natural Mosquito Predators
Mosquitoes are tasty treats to animals like frogs, fish, birds, and dragonflies. If you’ve got a pond in your yard adding a few frogs and/or fish could be helpful in your mosquito-fighting efforts. The mosquitofish, Gambusia Affinis, is a small silver or white fish that eats mosquitoes and their larvae. It’s been called the most effective natural mosquito predator. Goldfish and a few other types of fish eat mosquito larvae, keeping from becoming mosquitoes on your property. The purple martin is a known mosquito predator in Florida. A multi-complex birdhouse could draw this violet-colored bird to your yard to help with mosquito control.
Ducks and geese also eat mosquitoes and their larvae. Adding a few to your pond area could be helpful. If you’re not squeamish, you can even utilize spiders and bats to fight mosquitoes. Although natural mosquito predators can be pretty to look at, they shouldn’t be used as your only method of mosquito control. However, used in combination with other methods, they can be beneficial.
Keep Up With Yard Maintenance
Yards with tall grass can also be hotbeds for mosquitoes. When they’re not laying eggs and drinking blood, mosquitoes hang out in tall grass. If you’ve ever walked through your yard and stirred up a mosquito colony, it means your grass is too high. Yards with excessive vegetation, large trees, and dense bushes are ideal for mosquitoes as well. Keeping bushes and trees trimmed can help reduce the mosquito population in your yard.
Clear Your Gutters
Leaves and debris can cause rainwater to build in up in gutters. These are an optimal breeding ground for mosquitos. Your gutters could be the main source of the mosquito population at your home. Be sure to check your gutters weekly, especially after it has rained.
Use Plants Mosquitoes Avoid
Believe it or not, there are some plants mosquitoes don’t like. Plants with strong fragrances tend to keep mosquitoes and other insects away from gardens and other areas where they’re planted. Citronella is popular in candle form, but it’s a grass that can keep mosquitoes at bay. Rosemary isn’t just a popular herb. It can deter mosquitoes from areas where it’s planted. Lavender isn’t just calming; its strong fragrance is believed to make mosquitoes go elsewhere for their meals. Basil is a common herb in Italian food, but it’s also a mosquito repellant. Marigolds have a pungent scent that many insects avoid. Planted in gardens, pots, and planters, you can put this plant in any area you want to keep mosquitoes away from.
Mosquito misting is the leading method of mosquito management in South Florida. Misting is immediately effective and can keep mosquitoes at bay for extended periods. It’s also EPA approved. Areas like ponds, pools, and play areas can. There are two types of misting available, backpacking and mosquito misting systems. With backpacking, a technician treats areas around your home where mosquitoes are likely to congregate and breed. This treatment takes about an hour. Another type of misting is a mosquito misting system. These systems are installed on your property and automatically mist the perimeter of your property at scheduled times every day. Technicians regularly monitor the system to ensure it’s working properly. The products used in the mosquito misting backpacks and systems don’t harm beneficial insects like butterflies and bees.
The Florida mosquito population consists of 80 species. Of those, 33 species can affect animals’ health and only 13 can cause health problems in people. Surprisingly, only four species transmit the Zika virus and two transmit Dengue fever. The Aedes Aegypti and the Aedes Albopictus, also known as the Yellow Fever mosquito and the Asian tiger mosquito carry all three viruses. Florida’s newest mosquitos Aedeomyia squamipennis and Culex panocossa can cause Zika and Dengue fever.
Big-headed ants (BHA) are also a menace in Florida. If you’ve ever found tiny mounds of dirt in your grass, around cracks in your cement areas and around doors and windows, you might have big-headed ants. Major worker ants are recognizable by their large heads. There might be some minor workers with smaller heads present as well. Although these ants don’t cause structural damage and aren’t aggressive to humans, they are a nuisance. They forage for food in kitchens and bathrooms and leave dirt and debris for you to clean up. Ant infestations are a problem that is easily remedied by pest control professionals.
Let Us Help
Whether it’s mosquitoes or ants, don’t let them ruin your summer. Be prepared this mosquito season. Contact us for a free estimate or to schedule a treatment today!